Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Ontario government announced the closure of all non-essential workplaces in the province. Many Ontarians are now working from home, limiting contact to their immediate family and maintaining physical distancing when in public.
For workers in the warehousing and logistics sector, this is not an option.
The pandemic has caused a spike in ecommerce. The warehousing and logistics sector has seen an increased workload, more hiring, and further degraded working conditions. Employers, some of whom are profiting massively from this crisis, are not doing enough to protect workers.
Workers desperately need paid sick leave and other work safety protections. Even more so during the COVID-19 crisis, workers need support and space to work collectively and address urgent problems.
We at the Warehouse Workers Centre understand that workers are facing uncertainty and they need support. Workers need to manage their health and peace of mind in these tough times.
We want the workers to know that they are not alone in this fight. If you have issues at work, we can help.
The Workers Warehouse Centre hosts free webinars for workers in the warehouse and logistics sector. We are currently featuring these two webinars during the COVID-19 crisis:
Last updated: April 17, 2020
The federal government has announced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
This new, single, benefit provides financial relief to workers who have ceased work for reasons relating to COVID-19.
The CERB is a temporary income support for workers who have ceased working or who are earning less than $1000 per month due to COVID-19 and do not have access to paid leave.
It provides a monthly benefit of $2,000 for workers who have been out of work for 14 consecutive days in any four-week period for reasons relating to COVID-19 or have seen a loss or serious reduction in work related to COVID-19.
To get the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, you may not earn more than $1,000 for a period of at least 14 consecutive days within the initial four week period of your claim or $1000 in total for each subsequent claim. It is meant to address situations where workers, for reasons relating to COVID-19:
The CERB applies to wage earners, including contract workers and self-employed individuals regardless of their eligibility for Employment Insurance (EI).
To qualify for CERB benefits, applicants must (a) be a resident of Canada, (b) be 15 years or older, and (c) have had a total income of at least $5,000 (combined) in 2019 or in the 12 months immediately preceding the application, from any of the following sources:
To get the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, you may not earn more than $1,000 for a period of at least 14 consecutive days within the initial four week period of your claim or $1000 in total for each subsequent claim.
Is your employer refusing to grant you leave to care for your children or self-isolate despite public health agency guidelines? You may be faced with the difficult decision of having to continue working or voluntarily leave your employment.
Beware! If you leave your job, your record of employment will say, "voluntary termination of employment." Workers who leave their job voluntarily without their employer's authorization are not entitled to employment insurance benefits (regular or sickness) or to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
The CERB will pay out $2,000 per four week period, to a maximum of 16 weeks. The same $2,000 amount will be paid to all recipients.
The CERB is a taxable benefit, but the Government has announced that tax recovery will be deferred. Further details are unavailable at this time.
The CERB will be paid every four weeks, and be available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020.
Applications will go through the Canada Revenue Agency web site. Benefit claims will take 10 days to process.
The CERB covers the period of March 15 to October 3, 2020, and applies for a maximum of 16 weeks, in four-week increments. You will need to renew your application for benefits every four weeks.
If you have already applied for EI, you do not need to apply for this new benefit.
EI benefits paid to workers who apply on or after March 15 will mirror CERB payments for the first 16 weeks.
If a worker is not eligible for EI, the only option available to them is to apply directly to the CERB when applications open.
The application process began during the week of April 6, 2020. Applications will be processed within 10 days from when an application form is submitted. Applications can be back-dated to March 15, 2020.
At this point, the answer is no. You will continue to receive your EI benefits. However, if your EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, and if you meet the CERB eligibility criteria, and if you are still unable to return to work for reasons relating to COVID-19, you can apply to receive CERB benefits.
If you have enough EI insurable hours, you will still be able to access your normal EI benefits after the 16-week period covered by the CERB.
We are sharing the best available information we can find and updating it whenever possible, and without delay. Thus, while we are disseminating this information, please be aware that not everything we’re sharing here has been thoroughly vetted by the Warehouse Workers Centre, nor does it necessarily represent the Warehouse Workers Centre’s beliefs or positions.